In the last few months, I’ve had a series of Ravensburger puzzles arrive for reviewing purposes including from the Escape Puzzle Kids line and the Marvel Villainous line. Right now, I have two more on hand for reviewing including another Marvel Villainous puzzle featuring Hela and a Belle-based puzzle from the Disney Heroines line which had a few COVID-related delays in getting to me. I’ve always loved the variety and quality of Ravensburger puzzles, which is why they’re a staple in our brainy toys collection.
One of the reasons we keep returning to Ravensburger as a brand is the quality of their puzzles. The pieces snap together neatly and tend to remain together and in place. We’ve even tested the ability to pick up a puzzle by its edges, lift it, and sort of toss it back down on the table again in one piece. (It can be done.) I also love the artwork they have whether it’s an original piece or a licensed line. The licensed line artwork always feels like a gorgeous tribute to the source material with lots of little details worked in that fans can really appreciate. Both of these puzzles keep up with that same tradition of quality pieces and lovely art I have come to expect from Ravensburger.
Heroines Belle (MSRP $25.99)
Of the two puzzles, this one was easier and probably took us about 15 build hours to complete. The biggest factor that added to that ease, since it was the same 1000-piece size as the Hela one, was that the animation-based artwork had a lot fewer color shade similarities, which made distinguishing what pieces came from what area significantly easier to sort out.
Some smaller scenes are mixed in with bigger headshots of Belle and the Beast and the supporting characters off to the side. Those supporting characters became good anchor points for my husband to start sorting out and piecing things together while I ended up focusing on Belle and her book. When one section was finished, slipping to the next one beside it made a lot of sense, and the pieces were still easy to sort out.
It wasn’t until the last twenty percent or so that we found ourselves sorting pieces by size to help get the last sections together, and that mostly happened because we had enough built that we had room to do that in. Otherwise, we had been able to shift through pieces and pull out what we needed. I want to say we put this one together over three or four days, and our oldest kid was able to help with it much more.
This puzzle is geared for ages 12+, but I felt it had more wiggle room because the artwork did make it easier to sort out the different areas a little easier, and that made it easier for our eleven-year-old to help a little too. It is a decent size when completed and you’ll want a coffee table size area to devote to assembly unless you’re lucky enough to have a puzzle board or mat to help with storing it between sessions.
Villainous Hela (MSRP $24.99)
This was not just the trickiest of the two puzzles we put together this month but I think it was the trickier of the 3 Villainous puzzles we did for the simple reason that so much of the artwork was tinged with shades of green that sort of melted into each other. In the Ultron one, I felt like even with all the metal we still found just enough pieces of varying color to ID different areas, but in this one there were not enough differences between the areas to make it quite as easy.
Valkyrie ended up being the best starting point, with Thor’s blue area being second. Far earlier in the process, we took over our gaming table to have enough room to spread out the pieces because we really needed that in order to find enough identifiable sections of characters to create anchor points for everything else. The extra lighting and horns and cloudy bits around Hela certainly added to the challenge level of this one. There were a lot more periods of trying every piece in a particular shape in a certain area because too many looked too close to each other to narrow it down otherwise. Likewise, there were a lot of pieces we swore belonged to one area that ended up getting placed across the puzzle in the end.
The puzzle is designed for ages 14+ and I feel like I agree more with this with a note about it being a great choice for people who like a bit of a challenge. The collage-style art really is gorgeous when you look at the completed picture, and I love how different characters were incorporated into the entire thing.
This one took us about 25 hours total to put together over about a week or so. We really had to have the mental energy to take this one on. We did end up with three missing pieces, but with kids and dogs, we can’t be 100% certain if that was on us or not, especially given it took over our gaming table for quite some time.
Overall these were solid puzzles that took a decent amount of time to piece together. If you want a screen-free break or really enjoy putting puzzles together, I feel like either would make a solid addition to your collection. The Hela one I would save for if you really like a solid challenge, which some people honestly do. They both do feature lovely collage-style artwork that fans of either Disney or Marvel should be able to appreciate the little details in. As for the best place to find these? The Villainous Hela can be found for $21.80 on Amazon right now and the Belle one can be found at Barnes & Noble for $25.99.